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Local Docs Recommend ABCs of Back-To-School Health

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Avoid potential health hazards before hitting the books

Local families are scrambling to check off their back-to-school lists, buying supplies, clothes and more. But doctors say it’s important to add one more item to that list — a checkup for your child’s health. That’s why doctors at local American Family Care and AFC/Doctors Express centers have created the ABCs of Back to School Health.

“Making sure your child is up to date on immunizations and is physically fit for school can prevent a number of problems down the line,” said Dr. Bruce Irwin, CEO of American Family Care and AFC/Doctors Express, a local medical practice. “Our clinics offer back to school physicals and immunizations daily, and we’re open late, so busy families can fit a visit into their schedules.”

Athlete Awareness:  Heat-related illnesses often strike during summer/ fall sports prep. A recent study found that athlete heat death rates are rising with 18 deaths between 2005 and 2009, and 20-22 more since 2010. High school football players account for most of the deaths.

The National Athletic Trainers Association says athletes can do their part to stay healthy in the heat and avoid dangerous conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
•    Work slowly to build up endurance in hot situations.
•    Get plenty of sleep
•    Drink lots of fluids before, during and after workouts.
•    Quick cooling is key to preventing deaths; ice baths can save lives.

Better Backpack:  Heavy backpacks can strain kids’ muscles and can cause long term damage over a period of time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found the average sixth-grader carries a backpack weighing more than 18 pounds, with some reaching as much as 30 pounds. The academy recommends that backpacks weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight.

The AAP offers some tips for better backpacks.
•    Backpacks with shoulder straps and padded backs can better distribute the weight of a backpack. Make sure your child uses both shoulder straps on their backpack. Putting the entire weight of the backpack on one shoulder can strain muscles.
•    Organize your child’s backpack with heavier items close to the center of the back.
•    Use the available compartments to distribute items equally throughout the pack.
•    Rolling backpacks can be great for heavier loads, but your child must be able to carry it up the stairs or through inclement weather.

Clean Hands and Surfaces:  Since children are highly likely to be exposed to germs at school, here are some of the most common illnesses that strike children during the school year.
•    Meningitis and meningococcal disease
•    Influenza
•    Norovirus
•    MRSA (staph)
•    Pertussis (whooping cough)

Simple safety tips like regular hand washing and up-to-date immunizations can help prevent the spread of these infections. Local doctors say a back to school checkup can make sure your child is healthy enough for the school environment. A quick checkup offers a chance to catch up on vaccines, get a doctor’s note for necessary medications at school or get a sports physical.

(Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, National Athletics Trainers Association, National Institutes for Health, Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, U.S. News and World Report)

iEfficient.com Empowers Inland Empire Water Users to Cut Waste

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Cities, water agencies collaborate to launch new web tool for IE residents

INLAND EMPIRE, CA -Nearly 20 water agencies and city governments across the Inland Empire have collaborated to launch iEfficient.com, a comprehensive water conservation website supported by a coordinated multimedia public outreach effort urging Inland Empire residents to end water waste.

At iEfficient.com, which went live today, visitors can connect to existing conservation resources and information about how to protect the region’s precious water supplies. Along with a mobile app under development, the site links users to their water providers and the water-saving rebates and programs available to them.

The regional effort will be supported by advertising in local media outlets and theaters, on billboards and buses, and through social media. The goal is to encourage and empower thousands of local residents and businesses to do their part to end water waste in the Inland Empire.

“Local cities and water agencies recognize just how important water conservation is to the vitality of our region,” said Bob Tincher, manager of water resources, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. “That’s why we’re working together, and also why we need people all over the IE to help end water waste in their homes and yards. Our collaboration can set an example for the rest of the state.”

iEfficient.com is one way local agencies are meeting the state mandate to cut water use 20 percent by 2020. Due to historic drought conditions, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency and asked all Californians to cut their water use by 20 percent. Real impacts are being felt across the state and the Inland Empire is no exception. Drought photos, news and information are also available on the site.

“This drought is not going away any time soon,” said Amanda Kasten, water conservation coordinator for West Valley Water District. “By making conservation a way of life we can secure our water resources now and in the future.”

To learn more about iEfficient and to do your part to end water waste today, visit iEfficient.com.

Positive Indicators for West Nile Virus reported in the Cities of Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino and Upland

The Division of Environmental Health Service’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program (MVCP) has reported multiple positive indicators for West Nile Virus (WNV) throughout San Bernardino County. WNV is a virus transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. MVCP has sentinel chicken flocks placed in various locations throughout San Bernardino County to detect WNV. If any sentinel chickens test positive for WNV, it means that the mosquito population in these areas are infected, increasing the possible risk of the public being infected. Chickens are not harmed by the virus. Two chickens from a sentinel flock in San Bernardino were reported to have tested positive for WNV.

Dead birds are another sign that WNV is present in an area. MVCP has reported one dead bird in each of the following cities: Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino and Upland.

In addition, a group of mosquitos collected for testing in Upland was reported to have tested positive for the virus. MVCP is taking steps to eliminate mosquito breeding hazards.

Those infected with West Nile fever may experience flu-like symptoms that can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue. In some individuals, West Nile fever can develop into a more serious form of the disease. If you have been bitten by mosquitoes and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your medical care provider.

Residents can protect themselves from WNV by following these tips:

  • Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos can lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, flower pots, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.
  • Dawn and Dusk – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitos are most active.
  • Dress – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
  • DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

If you see a dead bird, submit an online dead bird report on the California West Nile Virus Website at http://www.westnile.ca.gov or call the Dead Bird Hotline at 1-877-968-2473.

To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/westnile. For more information or to report a green pool or mosquito breeding source, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website athttp://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.